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What is a living will?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Blog, Estate Administration

A living will is a common component of any comprehensive estate plan for New Jersey residents that serves as an advance directory when some unforeseen medical event happens to the testator. This can eliminate confusion regarding whether or not to keep an individual on life support when their health condition is not conducive to improvement. Some individuals do not want to be kept alive in a vegetable state. However, family members may also not possess legal authority to prevent medical professionals and facilities from doing so without a living will to indicate the victim’s wishes.

Eliminating family discord

Many times in a situation without a living will family members will disagree with the decision to take someone off of life support. Regardless of whether the decision is made for religious or financial reasons, this can easily happen. The primary individual still has control over their own life decisions, and establishing the orders in an advance directive eliminates potential dissent when estate planning.

How a living will works

Medical facility managers always want to know when a patient checks in if they have a living will even when they do not have an estate plan. Some estates will only require a simple will with an advance directive in the event of being incapacitated to the point of needing medical equipment to keep them alive. This decision is generally left up to the immediate family when no will is in place.

It is important for all New Jersey families to remember that certain types of treatments can be refused as well, including blood transfusions, intravenous treatment, and heart resuscitation. Medical treatment professionals need accurate information ahead of time when having to deal quickly with a patient who is in severe health distress. These instructions are often filed as alternate steps to take when emergency treatment is needed.